TCA: CBS looking to stay on top

The  semi-annual Television Critics Association Press Tour got underway this week at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in this upscale section of Los Angeles. Many critics complained about the air conditioning in the ballroom and lackluster wi-fi connection, which rivals the poor signal one usually gets at the Harold Washington Library in the Loop. The only difference is the security guards won’t toss your ass out for opening a Milky Way.  First up: CBS.

The Church of Tisch’s presentation got underway with an executive session featuring Nina Tassler, where she talked about how the network stacks up among the others, and reacting to the sudden depature of ABC Entertainment Chief Steve McPherson (more on that when I do ABC’s TCA wrap-up.) Her reaction? “He got out of press tour!”

– She addressed the issue of the lack of gay and lesbian characters on the network’s shows, and stated she will be adding more in the future.

– Talked about the new surprise hit Undercover Boss and hadn’t held any discussions on late night star David Letterman cutting back his workload.

– She also reassured fans of Two and a Half Men that Charlie Sheen’s legal woes won’t affect production of the show.

– On to S#!% My Dad Says, a sitcom based on a popular Twitter feed with William Shatner playing dear old Dad. Shatner said the word “Shit” should have been used as the title, saying he doesn’t know what the big deal is all about. The role of the son is being recast, but given how similar this show is to the 1970’s NBC hit Sanford & Son, I’m surprised they didn’t give the job to Desmond Wilson.

– William Shatner is also guest starring on The Big Bang Theory this season, which will lead into S#!% My Dad Says on Thursday nights. The cast and producers basically repeated what they said at Comic-Con about the day and time period switch. Mayim Bialik returns as Sheldon’s possible “love interest” this season. Bazinga!

– Survivor is also on the move – to Wednesday, with the cast divided into two tribes: people under 40 and people over 40. A notable contestant in this year’s Survivor is former Dallas Cowboys head coach and current Fox Football analyst Jimmy Johnson, which marks the first time a celebrity has been participating on Survivor.

– Chuck Lorre talks about his third sitcom on CBS, titled Mike & Molly: “Television normally would have cast Chris O’ Donnell AND Courtney Cox who meet at Overeaters Anonymous.” Heard there were a lot of fat jokes in the pilot. Throw in Nell Carter and three kids and you have an updated version of Gimme A Break. The only thing going for it is the show in set in Chicago. Um, wait a minute…

– The revival of Hawaii Five-O brought complaints that the show was too violent and too dark. Um, guys… so was the original. Alex O’Laughlin noted the original Hawaii-Five-O was taken off the air “40 years ago”. So, what he was saying was Hawaii Five-O ended two years after it began in 1968. Funny, the program I saw on Me-TV the other day had a copyright of 1974.

– Blue Bloods
‘ panel featured Tom Selleck and former New Kid on the Block member Donnie Wahlberg. The New York police drama isn’t wowing critics, and may likely get canceled before November.

– The CBS Corp. portion of the tour extended into Thursday, with the first part of the day devoted to Showtime programming, featuring Dexter (who announced a showrunner change), Laura Linney’s new drama The Big C, The Real L Word, and tons of made-for-cable movies.

Next up: The CW.